Somehow it seems better suited as a noun, as a “thing” that is separate from us, as something we can distance ourselves from…maybe that’s why it’s being used that way more frequently these days.

There are a few ways to feel overwhelmed. Generally it indicates “too much/many” (to do, to see, to process) and/or “too intense” (physical pain, emotional overload). This blogger has decided on a different approach with regard to this subject. No, lol, not by referring to herself in the third person, but by turning it into an experiment – at least for the “too much” aspect for now.

I am preparing for a cross-country move, which looks to be a perfect opportunity to pare down. The big items are easy to deal with, not so much the smaller, personal ones like photos, clothing, knick-knacks, jewellery and paperwork.

It is truly “the agony and the ecstasy” when one gets to be of a certain age. With so much life experience under one’s belt, my observation is that a state of overwhelm can happen more easily, as we have logged countless pitfalls along the way and know what could be ahead of us to deal with (a good reason to remember those 3 questions about worst/best/most likely scenario). Despite the evidence of ultimate success for each ‘adventure’ –  else we wouldn’t be here to talk about it – our cup is already so full it might not take much to spill over the edge (anyone remember Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life?)

On the other hand, “priorities” become clearer, almost without much consideration. “Things” and “stuff” lose meaning unless tightly attached to cherished memories. Items that were kept squirreled away because they were too special to use, happily become daily “indulgences,” like the good china, the expensive nightie….

With this decision, I already feel less “overwhelm,” as I feel accompanied on the journey. To follow are observations I’ve made and lessons I’ve learned, in no particular order.

  • If you live with others, give them a heads up that your space will be messy and you might exhibit mood swings.
  • Expect that, as your space gets chaotic, so might your head/energy.
  • If there are things you are resisting, don’t do them yet…go with the flow, do what moves you. Literally.
  • Every little bit helps!
  • Have dedicated, labelled piles, boxes, bags, etc. that will keep you organized as you come across things.
  • It might actually be more productive, efficient, and make more sense if “areas” got boxed together instead of “like-things.” You will probably remember more clearly what you had in your bedroom, bathroom, office, specific drawers and closets, etc. This will be especially helpful if you start running out of time and start throwing things in boxes without detailed labels.
  • Embrace the “steps” (got a Fitbit?). Sometimes it’s a good choice just to keep moving and not worry so much about how efficient you’re being.
  • Remember, it’s okay to ask for help.
  • Stop for water and the loo, even if you’re on a roll and don’t want to take the time out to cook and eat. Maybe this is a good time to check out the “intermittent fasting” thing you’ve been hearing about if your healthcare professional has okayed it for you; better yet, prepare some healthy, handy snacks ahead of time that you can “grab and go.”
  • Take time for other self-care essentials, among them: get good sleep, don’t slack on hygiene, and gently stretch those muscles you’ve been using.
  • This is a great time to practice all those stress-reduction techniques you’ve learned: deep breathing, mediation, EFT [Emotional Freedom Technique], etc.; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWMtUgm3qyU&t=41s  my personal favourites are laughing and dancing.
  • Keep focusing on what you Have Done, not what is left to do.
  • If you have had thoughts of leaving certain people things when you’ve “passed on,” maybe now would be a better time to give it to them (speaking from an older person’s perspective).
  • There’s always ONE MORE THING!! Anticipate that, and don’t let it “break the camel’s back.”

Please share any insights/tips you have had going through a process like this, it will be of benefit to many, including this author (and thank you in advance lol!!)

The other aspect of “overwhelm” will be addressed in a future blog; watch for next week’s continuation of the “Toxic: Remedies” series.